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Mauer a lock for AL MVP?

Aug 15, 2009, 5:30 PM EDT

Tyler Kepner, who covers the Yankees for the New York Times, sparked a mini-controversy with an innocent little tweet following Mark Teixeria’s heroics in a 4-2 win over the Mariners on Friday night.



“By the way, this is probably obvious by now, but Teixeira’s the AL MVP. No question, as Joe Torre would say.”



Rob Neyer and Joe Posnanski
have already whacked him on the head for suggesting that anyone besides
Joe Mauer could realistically win the award. I’m with them. As I
watched him go 3-for-3 against the Indians on Friday night,
raising his batting average to .375 for the year, I was hard-pressed to
think of another player even remotely worthy of the distinction.
After all, Mauer enters play on Saturday tops in the league in batting,
on-base percentage (.444), slugging percentage (.622) and OPS (1.067),
all while playing the most demanding position in the league.




But, in my quest to find his nearest competition, I decided to look at two leading metrics for evaluating players:



Wins Above Replacement (WAR) Leaders – AL:



1. Joe Mauer – 5.7

2. Ben Zobrist – 5.4

3. Evan Longoria – 5.3


4. Derek Jeter – 4.7


5. Marco Scutaro – 4.6



VORP Leaders – AL:



1. Joe Mauer – 64.0

2. Jason Bartlett – 49.9


3. Ichiro Suzuki – 43.0


4. Carl Crawford – 42.0

5. Michael Young – 41.8

6. Derek Jeter – 41.5

7. Kevin Youkilis – 41.1

8. Justin Morneau – 39.9

9. Ben Zobrist – 39.4

10. Marco Scutaro – 37.9



You know, just in case you needed
any more evidence that Mauer is far and away the best player in the
league this season. It shouldn’t be close, really. But I suspect that
Kepner is focusing on an old-fashioned idea like winning baseball
games. And as the Twins currently sit in third place with an 18.3%
chance of making the playoffs, according to
Cool Standings, Mauer could, but shouldn’t, lose a few votes if they miss out come October.



But if we want to use Kepner’s
argument, Teixeira might not even be the most valuable player on his
own team. With an improved UZR (+8.3) to go along with an excellent
.318/.387/.456 line and the metrics shown above, Derek Jeter has a
stronger case for some individual hardware.

  1. AJ - Aug 15, 2009 at 9:34 PM

    Sabermetrics are such a joke. WAR/VORP, get a life. Good for him, he’s batting .375 – cool.

  2. John - Aug 15, 2009 at 11:12 PM

    I’m with you AJ-keeping your team from the cellar does not make you an MVP

  3. greg - Aug 16, 2009 at 12:21 AM

    mauer may have good stats but tex is has just as good home runs and rbis with a good average, and oh by the way is leading a team in first place by 6.5 games

  4. Ray - Aug 16, 2009 at 1:51 AM

    What gives Tex the huge edge over Mauer is his Gold Glove caliber defense at first. Unless you see Tex play everyday, you can’t appreciate what he’s done at first this season. Just ask Cano, Jeter and ARod.

  5. Anthony Bellson - Aug 16, 2009 at 4:25 AM

    I vote for Mauer. By the way, he has a Gold Glove also.
    Note: sometimes off the wall stats are a little….too much

  6. Ben2009 - Aug 16, 2009 at 10:47 AM

    If you have to resort to WAR and VORP to “make” your argument, you don’t have much of an argument. It’s most valuable, not most outstanding. Hard to give the MVP to a guy on a sub-.500 teams. A good team that gets unlucky and misses the playoffs, maybe, but not a sub-.500 team.

  7. Aaron/YYZ - Aug 16, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Odd that all the commenters are hell-bent on punishing Mauer for his teammates not being very good. He’s only the best hitter in the league, the best defensive catcher… you want him to pitch too?

  8. NEYankee - Aug 16, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    It is NOT the best player award!. Mauer is by far this year’s AL best player but most vaulable? Using the #s from above Jeter is more valuable than Tex. Ask this question…Where would the team be w/o the player? Would his team been in the race w/o him? When A Dawson won his MVP the Cubs came in last. Best player yes….MVP no

  9. LordGrey - Aug 16, 2009 at 2:01 PM

    I guess NEYankee should ask what the Yankees would do if they did not go out year after year and buy the “so-called” best players in the league. Mauer is doing a lot to keep the Twins in contention. Could your stable of overpaid prima donnas do the same if one or two of them were asked to carry the same burden?

  10. Graves9 - Aug 16, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    God Yankee fans are braindead. Mauer has been the best player in the Al this year by far. Btw Tex was rather medicore before A-Rod returned. Tex plays in wiffle ball staduim where a blind man can jasck one out. Mauer has been the best player in rthe American league and the second best player in Baseball behind Pujols.

  11. Eric - Aug 16, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Mauer can win an MVP when he plays a full season. It really shows what short term thinkers most fans are that no one realizes that Mauer is a catcher with back problems, essentially a ticking time bomb for his career to take a major downturn. He’s going to be the most overvalued FA commodity in a few years and whatever unfortunate team gives his a Teixeira-esque deal is gonna be kicking themselves when he spends 60+ games a year on the DL

  12. Greenie - Aug 18, 2009 at 1:18 AM

    Eric… You’re high.
    Mauer’s back problems were from offseason minor kidney surgery. …Hardly considered back problems…
    No one has a crystal ball so your crumpity prediction is pointless and unfounded.
    try again.

  13. John - Aug 18, 2009 at 6:57 PM

    I repeat-keeping your team from last place does not make you “MOST VALUABLE”-being the main reason your team makes the post-season IS !!

  14. Bill - Aug 19, 2009 at 1:04 AM

    Wow, there’s a lot of dumb in this thread.
    Assume for some reason that something about the definition, or a definition, of the word “VALUABLE” (all caps or not) makes it so that you can only be valuable by leading your team to the playoffs. (Note: this is a false assumption. You can only believe this if you are really, really bad at understanding what words mean. An individual player has the exact same value whether he plays for a 100-win team or a 162-loss team. But assume it’s so, just for fun.) Why would we want an award for that? You’re not rewarding great individual performances, you’re rewarding people who are surrounded by good teammates.
    Mauer is the most valuable player in the league by any reasonable definition. And it’s not even remotely close. Teixeira isn’t in the top 7 or 8.

  15. HOTROD - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:32 PM

    Derek Jeter is the MVP……..
    Whatever is needed he does…………..
    I find it HARD TO BELIEVE YOU ARE MVP AND YOU ARE WATCHING THE
    PLAYOFFS ON TV, FROM YOUR COUCH ………..

  16. HOTROD - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    ROB, JOE, TY AND DJ YOU ALL HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON WITH MAUER, YOU WILL BE WATCHING THE PLAYOFFS FROM YOUR COUCH, OR MAYBE ON THE SAME COUCH………..
    YOU GUYS ARE SO IN LOVE WITH NUMBERS IT IS AMAZING…….
    THE GUY HAS GREAT NUMBERS BUT THAT IS ALL,

  17. HOTROD - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:46 PM

    MAYBE AS A REAL MVP WOULD DO , HE CAN MAKE HIS TEAMATES BETTER….
    HE IS A NICE GUY, GOOD NUMBERS BUT FOR A LOSING TEAM, HOW IS THAT
    MVP ???

  18. HOTROD - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING ALL SEASON, JUMPING ROPE ???
    THE YANKEES ARE IN FIRST BY 7-1/2 GAMES WITH A DIFFERENT
    GUY WINNING A GAME EVERY NIGHT, ALL YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT
    IS MONEY, MONEY DON’T BAT, CATCH THROW……. BUT SINCE YOU
    WANT TO TALK ABOUT MONEY, TELL YOUR PENNY PINCHING OWNER-WHO
    DIED- HE SHOULDN’T PUT GEORGE STEINBRENNERS LUXURY TAX MONEY
    IN HIS POCKET BUT INTO PAYROLL, AND METS MONEY TOO, WHY DO YOU
    THINK THEY BUILT NEW STADIUMS, TO AVOID THE PAYMENTS AND PAY DEBT.
    DUDE, GO READ ABOUT BASEBALL AND THEN COME BACK OR BETTER YET GO
    PLAY JUMP ROPE AND HOP SCOTCH WITH THE GIRLS….. TALKIN ABOUT
    MONEY……. PLEASE
    OH , READ ABOUT HOW THE YANKEES BEING BACK IS GOOD FOR BASEBALL

  19. HOTROD - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    Graves9, Mauer is the best player on aa losing team, AND YOU ARE
    CORRECT TEX SUCKED BEFORE A-ROD CAME BACK……..
    DID ANYONE CHECK A-RODS NUMBERS ?????
    THIS IS WHY jETES IS THE MVP, HE DOES IT ALL,,,,,,,,,
    TALK TO THE RINGS ………..

  20. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    Mauer hasn’t played for the entire week,,,,,,,
    Wooooooooooooooooo Hoooooooooooooooooooo
    Yeah he is a MVP…….
    GET OVER YOUR MAN CRUSH………….

  21. Greenie - Aug 22, 2009 at 11:35 PM

    Way to be an idiot.
    It is Morneau that hasn’t played all week.
    Mauer was busy batting .391 with a 1.343 OPS
    BOX

  22. Greenie - Aug 23, 2009 at 12:10 AM

    So if a guy bats .400 and hits 30 home runs and 100+ RBI but is on a sub .500 team he is ineligible to win MVP because his team sucks?
    That argument is ridiculous on many levels.

  23. MNWriter - Aug 23, 2009 at 11:54 AM

    Why are we shocked to see Yankee fans continuing their delusion that Jeter is the best or most valuable player in baseball (he’s not even the most valuable SHORTSTOP in the American League, folks, look up Jason Bartlett sometime)? Mauer calls a great game at the game’s most demanding position, has a Gold Glove on his mantle, and his offensive numbers – face it, Yankee fans, if Jeter batted .375 with 25 HR (and we won’t hold our breath for him to hit 25), and didn’t win the MVP because the Yankees were crap that year, you’d all riot. Why should Mauer be different? He is the best player in the league – and that’s not even the point. No one does more to assist his team in winning games than Mauer, from catching to hitting to pitch calling. Whether his team wins or not is largely out of his hands. He’s the MVP, and if it’s not obvious to you, you need to pull your head out of your Yankee-centric you-know-what and accept the possibility that there are other teams in baseball.

  24. cwilson21 - Aug 23, 2009 at 6:12 PM

    Yankee fans proving once again why they are the dumbest fans in the world. Mauer>>>>>>>>>>>Any other AL MVP contender

  25. Greg - Aug 24, 2009 at 1:40 AM

    @ Ray: You know that Joe Mauer won the Golden Glove last year, right?
    Also in response to the point that Teixeira has more HR: Tex has 31 HR in 547 PA while Mauer has 25 HR in 434 PA (due to his season-opening injury), which means that Mauer has homered slightly more often than Tex (17.36 PA vs 17.65 PA). It would be a valid point to say that Mauer’s chances of the MVP title should reflect the time he missed.
    However, let’s unpack what a bit. Mauer spent the entire month of April on the DL. Over that same time span Teixeira had an awful .200/.367/.371 line. One could argue that over that time the Twins were better off having Mauer sitting on the DL than the Yankees were having Tex drag at the most offensively-focused position.
    Well, one could say that given how Teixeira batted so poorly in April, his line from May on must be great considering his season totals. While this would be true (he batted .303/.389/.591 over that span with 28 HR), Mauer has simply been better. Since returning from the DL May 1st, Mauer has batted an insane .378/.449/.638 line with 25 HR. I think it’s fair to say that calling Yankee Stadium home gives Tex that 3 HR difference. However, even with that boost, Mauer has hit safely more often than any player in baseball, he has gotten on base more often than any player in baseball, and he has hit for more power than any player in the AL, including Tex. To say that Tex hits more homeruns is misleading, when plain and simple Mauer hits for more power. Period.

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